I was determined that Christmas would be more meaningful and less stressful this year. I think it was on the whole, but on reflection it still didn't quite strike the note I had hoped for.
We all had fun, gave and received beautiful gifts, ate lots of fine food and enjoyed the company of family and friends. Trouble was I also had this feeling that I just wished it was over and as per usual was in a great rush to take down the decorations on Boxing Day. Glad to see it come but almost happier to see it pass.
On reflection I think I felt that by spending less I was actually downsizing Christmas, paring away the excess and leaving something more meaningful behind. This wasn't so. I've discovered that the January bank balance is not a reliable indicator of the kind of Christmas you have had - although I am of course quite pleased that my bank balance will be healthier this January than in previous years!
It was probably well into November when I started giving Christmas much real thought this year. I knew I wanted to do things differently but by that time it seemed almost too late to start deviating far from the norm. I'm going to be more prepared this coming year.
I've added Unplug the Christmas Machine: A Complete Guide to Putting Love and Joy Back into the Season by Jo Robinson to my Amazon Wish List (thanks to Mom Unplugged for bringing this book to my attention). I'm going to think about the spiritual aspect and what it means to me - and what it means to us as a multi faith household. I've started a list of ideas for home made gifts. I'm going to think about the stereotypical roles in the preparations for Christmas too - watch out Craig if you're reading this!
Despite downsizing the children still had lots of gifts. Hermione got a new bike, a pogo stick and some wheel heeled shoes. She was delighted with all of her gifts however that didn't change the fact that she spent much of yesterday running up and down the garden pulling a plastic bag tied to a piece of ribbon - a home made kite. Her joy and excitement with this was at least equal to that with anything which we had bought her.
Miles also received some wonderful presents and he played with all of them - but probably only for so long as he sat stuffing sweetcorn and turkey into half of a pulled cracker at the dinner table!
Lots to think about before next Christmas. Lots to think about generally. If possible I would like to keep all the qualities associated with the spirit of Christmas - joy, peace and warmth, and spread them throughout the year. Why should just one time be thought of as that of goodwill?